Last Updated on June 26, 2024 by Angela Vaz

Humans are social creatures.

Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy doing things on my own.

I love my dogs; I love my life.

I genuinely enjoy drawing, writing, and working.

But none of that satisfies that itch a friend does.

We need friends.

Even if it’s just 2-3 people, because it fills a void. We need some human interaction, no matter how introverted we are.

It’s what helps us develop other perspectives and make us more human.

We develop good qualities like communicating well, becoming better listeners, and developing traits like kindness and empathy.

Having friends is also a lot of fun.

But I used to have trouble making friends – I’m not going to lie.

And with time and observation of people, I realized that I needed to change in order actually to get people to like me.

In this post, I will talk about how you can be more likable without losing your authenticity.

Let’s get into it!

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Why do people shun you when you’re very different?

why do people shun away people who are different

Individuality is essential.

But why is it that when we’re different (physically or mentally) are we judged or mocked?

The answer is very primal and evolutionary.

Back in the olden days – anything new was treated as a threat.

When we saw something different or unusual, we were trained to avoid it until we understood it better.

This was key for our survival.

That’s why we avoided snakes, suspicious berries, or other tribes of people who may or may not eat us.

This has seeped into our subconscious.

The more we’re indoctrinated with similar-looking trends – the more acceptable they become.

But throw something unique at us, and we’ll become suspicious, scared, or worse… angry.

That’s why it’s important to realize that when people are mean, they’re simply resolving to behave primal.

People who are attracted to unique people are a little more broad-minded. They may also have suffered some sort of bullying as children, and therefore, they are more kind and understanding.

The right people will recognize you for what you indeed are.

You need to believe this.

7 Simple Ways to Get People to Truly Like You

1. Be a good listener

be a good listener

If you’re one of those people who is always waiting for a chance to talk about yourself and tell your story – this one is for you.

Being talkative is super cute and admirable – it makes for a good conversation.

But at the same time, communication is a two-way street.

It involves listening.

And when I say listening – I mean active listening:

  • Maintaining eye-contact.
  • Saying you understand or adding little notes when you agree.
  • Asking gentle questions to show you care about the listener.

You empathize with your sweet friends and agree with what they’re saying.

Most people want to be heard.

They want to talk without being judged. When you shut them down or interrupt, they retreat and wouldn’t want to talk much around you.

This is why being a good listener is a rare quality.

Listening without judgment is one of the best things you can do to make people feel at home.

The next time someone unloads something on you, listen – don’t add your thoughts or advice, listen.

And note how relieved they feel after they’ve spoken to you.

2. Ask them what they love doing

Some people treat other people with respect based on their careers.

They feel that a person’s work is directly related to the respect they deserve.

Don’t be that person.

Please.

It doesn’t matter if the person you are talking to is a waitress or a CEO—what matters is whether they enjoy their lives and what they do.

So, instead of asking, “What do you do?” as a conversation starter, ask, “What do you do for fun?”

This question throws most people off because they expect to talk about their job, but I love spinning it and catching that look of relief and joy.

I’ve found that people love answering this – and sometimes, if they’re lucky, they do what they love for a living.

I’ve seen people’s eyes light up as they talk about their plants or their love for board games, or their last trip to Europe because they love travelling.

Again, listen and then ask further questions to show that you’re interested in hearing them talk about their hobbies.

People love talking about their passions, so show them you’re keen.

3. Say their names often

I live in India, so “Angela” is hard for most people to pronounce.

And when someone uses my name liberally, I instantly like them.

I feel happy knowing someone has taken that 2 extra seconds to say my name right.

It feels nice; it feels personal.

So, take that extra 2 seconds to learn a person’s name, and if you forget it, gently ask them to remind you.

It’s alright if you have to ask them their name again – it simply shows you’re eager to learn something about them, and that’s an excellent quality!

4. Look for something you have in common

Do you know why people like memes?

Or why do people gravitate toward specific photos/jokes?

Because it’s relatable.

When you find something you have in common with someone, you instantly feel a little more connected with them.

For instance, I was talking to someone I’d just met for the first time, and they told me that they only visited Mangalore ( a little city in India) for fish curry.

And I instantly chimed in, saying, “Me too! I love the fish curry there so, so much! I even have a recipe. Would you like me to send it to you?”

For the next 15 minutes, we bonded over food.

It was such a glorious conversation – and I have done this repeatedly.

Find some common ground.

  • If it’s movies, ask them what kind of movies they like – then talk about a film you both loved.
  • If it’s video games, ask them what kind they like – and then go gaga over a single one.
  • If it’s books, ask them if they have read anything interesting lately and discuss the idea the book discussed.

This also means you’ll have to improve your skills by becoming more knowledgeable about the world, making you more attractive.

When you can contribute a little to lots of conversations – you become likable because you are now relatable.

People love it, so try it!

5. Keep an open mind (please)

keep an open mind

Everyone’s thinking is different.

And when you speak, remember to be open-minded.

You’re more than welcome to state your opinion, but do not ever force it down people’s throats—that will make you highly dislikable.

I have two girlfriends who are both vegans. They never order meat or anything related to animals, and I love them both to death.

I was a pretty heavy meat eater when I met them – but neither of them told me that I was wrong for eating meat, nor did they condemn my choices.

Instead, they got me to try different vegan recipes, and I slowly gravitated toward that.

I’ve now completely cut off red meat from my diet, and I do not buy certain meat products knowing how they are made.

I still consume eggs and fish, but for the most part, my habits have changed.

I adore mushrooms and chickpeas. I learned to fall in love with new foods, and I’m so grateful to both of them for being so lovely and nice about it.

My habits changed with love and kindness.

So, if you want to influence a specific behavior, don’t force it on anyone. Instead, be kind.

Be accepting.

Understand that we all come from different backgrounds and have unique stories, so there is no one-size-fits-all.

6. Be genuine

All of my guy friends love to run – including my partner.

As much as I love hanging out with them, running is not one of my strengths.

I feel like I will die if I do it – and I’d much rather do strength training or long walks to help build my stamina.

But the younger me would have tried to run just to fit in.

  • You don’t need to be good at everything to be likable.
  • You don’t need to be with people 24/7.
  • It’s okay to be alone sometimes; it’s OK to have weaknesses.
  • Be genuine.

Know what you’re good at, and bloody own it.

It’s completely okay!

When you’re confident about your strengths and weaknesses, you show people you’re not insecure.

You show people a certain kind of confidence – that’s extremely attractive.

And remember, whenever you need help with something – don’t be afraid to ask.

This sort of mild vulnerability with close friends and family is quite cute and attractive.

7. Don’t be a yes-man

I need you to understand that having your views about something is okay.

You needn’t nod along and say you agree with everything someone says.

Feel free to disagree, but be polite.

Say something like, “Thank you for stating your point, but I agree to disagree.” And then gently tell them why.

Healthy debates are refreshing.

I was recently introduced to a friend’s girlfriend, and when she told me quite confidently that Smoking doesn’t cause cancer – I nearly lost my nerve.

But I bit my tongue and politely asked her to explain her research.

It wasn’t easy for me to do.

After telling me she had none, I gently told her I was sorry, but I disagreed with her statement.

I then told her that I had a mom who died from it, and I have studied quite a bit on the subject. I told her there is significant research on how smoking causes cancer.

It was a healthy debate.

There was no arguing and no fighting.

Both of us stated our opinions and had a healthy, adult discussion.

It was nice.

It’s easy to get defensive or enraged when someone says something against your beliefs.

But choose the more challenging route – stay calm and get all the information from them before you jump to conclusions.

See where they’re coming from – try to understand their perspective entirely.

And only then – explain your points.

Remember, the idea isn’t to convert everybody to your beliefs – but to spark ideas for new thinking.

This is how you make little ripples that cause change.

This is how you gain respect.

Bonus: Be happy for people

This is 1 tip has helped me make so many genuine friends – so I saved the best for last.

I don’t use social media personally much since my art and writing require a lot of social media.

But every time I open my Instagram, I comment on people’s posts with encouragement, positivity, and kindness.

I say, “I love this; it reminds me of _______, and I love how you’ve drawn this!” or “What a thoughtful and lovely thing you’ve written. I resonate with this so much because _______.”

I try to start conversations, but I am also genuinely happy when others succeed.

I share my friends’ startups on my page, tag people, and tell them to join a good cause—I’m constantly sharing stuff to help people be seen.

And this, is the best way to make friends.

We all want supportive friends who push us off the ground.

So, be that friend.

Be that mercilessly kind and supportive person —encourage them to be their best selves and watch how they melt and take you in.

Of course, there is so much more you can do to become a people person, but this article is long enough, so I’ll elaborate more on this soon.

In the meantime, join my newsletter so that you can become the best version of yourself!

Here are a few more posts you may like:

Angela is a 31 year old Illustrator and Blogger living with her 2 adorable labradors in Bangalore, India. She has a degree in Psychology and Human Relationships from the University of Toronto. When she's not writing her heart out or drawing, you'll find her sipping chai and reading non-fiction books.

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